April 1, 2009

Block Party: Attacker's Eight-Assist Day Fuels 15-7 Win at Holy Cross

April 1, 2009

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WORCESTER, Mass. - The Yale offense needed a jump start after being held under seven goals in four straight games. The Bulldogs got it Wednesday afternoon at Holy Cross, thanks in large part to an eight-assist day from junior attacker Jenna Block that put her two shy of the NCAA single-game record. Senior midfielder Jenn Warden scored six goals, freshman attacker Caroline Crow and sophomore attacker Myra Trivellas got their first career goals, and the Bulldogs came away with a 15-7 win.

Yale (3-7, 0-3 Ivy League) had dropped four in a row since beating UMass 7-4 Mar. 11. During that stretch, the Bulldogs held each opponent below its goals-per-game average, but they scored just 19 goals themselves.

"The defensive unit has been solid all along," said Anne Phillips, Yale's Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Lacrosse. "Today, the offense started to click. Finally we were hitting the cutters and finishing inside. Everybody shared in the scoring. We had struggled to get that piece to work for us."

The Bulldogs got the opening draw and controlled the ball for the first four minutes of the game, but were unable to take advantage. Two shots by sophomore midfielder Ariana Papier hit the post, and the Bulldogs also had a free position attempt blocked. Amy Martin's save on another Papier shot finally brought the possession to an end, and the Crusaders wound up with the first goal of the game when midfielder Meg O'Leary put one in at 23:24.

Warden got the draw control after that goal, and that quickly led to Crow depositing the first goal of her career to tie the game at 1-1.

Shortly after the first of three yellow cards in a span of less than 12 minutes on the Bulldogs, a free position goal by O'Leary gave Holy Cross the lead again. But after getting the draw control the Bulldogs killed off the rest of the penalty and then got an unassisted goal by Warden at 16:28 to tie the score.

That was the start of a five-goal run by the Bulldogs that also saw Trivellas score her first career goal on a free position attempt 36 seconds after Warden's goal. Block then set up both of Yale's next goals, feeding Papier and sophomore midfielder Logan Greer to give Yale a 5-2 lead and prompt a Holy Cross timeout.

Senior midfielder Taylor Fragapane kept the run going by firing in a goal off a Warden assist at 12:10, but shortly after that another yellow card on the Bulldogs helped start a Holy Cross run. Freshman goalkeeper Whitney Quackenbush was able to make the save on a free position attempt by midfielder Megan Fenton, but the Crusaders got a goal by midfielder Kat Sutton at 9:51 to get within 6-3.

Quackenbush made another big save by getting to O'Leary just as she was shooting from right in front of the net, but Holy Cross maintained possession and a goal by midfielder Calley Benoit cut Yale's lead to two. Another yellow card on Yale right after that goal gave the Crusaders the chance to make it 6-5 on a Sutton goal, and the Bulldogs called time.

"We had lost draw control and had some penalties, which gave them a chance to put together a run," said Phillips. "We called timeout and set up two set plays to get us back on track. That was a pivotal part of the game."

Warden got the draw control after the timeout, enabling the Bulldogs to kill off the rest of the penalty time. Shortly after checking into the game, junior attacker Jessica Sturgill put home a feed from Block to make it 7-5. Freshman defender Erin Velez, who also had just checked in, nabbed the ensuing draw control. That enabled Block to assist on another goal, this one by Warden at 4:17.

That was the first varsity appearance for Velez, who would go on to play the rest of the game.

"Erin did really well," said Phillips. "She got the draw control, had a fast break and helped transition the ball. She played very composed for a freshman and did a great job coming off the bench."

A save by Quackenbush on a free position shot by attacker Katie Gardner with 12.3 seconds left enabled Yale to take an 8-5 lead into halftime. Quackenbush would limit the Crusaders to a 1-for-6 performance on free positions.

Holy Cross (2-9, 0-3 Patriot League) had a chance to get closer five minutes into the second half, but O'Leary's free position shot found nothing but the strings in Quackenbush's crosse. The Bulldogs went up 9-5 when Warden scooped up the ground ball after Papier hit the post and put in a goal at 22:48.

After a goal by Holy Cross, the Bulldogs came up empty on three straight free position attempts. But shortly after the third one, Block fed Warden for a goal that made it 10-6 at 15:24. The Crusaders got a goal from O'Leary, but 35 seconds after that Block got the ball to Warden for another goal, the start of a five-goal run for Yale that put the game away.

After Fragapane scored off another Block assist with 11:52 to play, the Crusaders called timeout. That slowed the Bulldogs only temporarily. With six minutes left, they got a transition goal when junior defender Michele Fiorentino caused a turnover and Greer got the ball ahead to Fragapane. Fragapane then hit Block in stride for Block's 10th goal of the year.

Warden scored her 26th with 2:08 left, and Block capped her big day by assisting on a goal by Fragapane with 75 seconds to play.

The 15 goals was Yale's most in a game since beating Columbia 16-8 Apr. 9, 2008. Block's eight assists placed her two short of the NCAA single-game record set by Tewaaraton Trophy winner Hannah Nielsen of Northwestern earlier this season. The previous record, nine, had stood for 10 years.

Quackenbush finished with eight saves, while Martin had 12. Yale outshot Holy Cross 40-23 and committed just six turnovers.

In addition to her six goals and seven points, Warden also had five draw controls, four caused turnovers and three ground balls. Greer chipped in three draw controls and Fiorentino had three ground balls. Block's nine points were the most in a game by a Bulldog since assistant coach Lauren Taylor '08 had nine (four goals, five assists) against Columbia last season.

Yale hosts No. 7 Princeton on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. It is Alumnae Day, with a pre-game and post-game reception for all alums, and the game will be broadcast on WYBC 1340 AM.

Report by Sam Rubin '95 (sam.rubin@yale.edu), Yale Sports Publicity

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